It is late August, which is usually a slow time in the world of HDTV-related news. However, this year the fashionably late television technology known as OLED finally decided to join the party. The timing of OLED's arrival may be awkward—especially with LCD-based UHDTVs already making a splash—but there's plenty to discuss.
Samsung's new 55" curved OLED at its U.S. debutCNET recently published
a helpful summary outlining seven obstacles OLED HDTVs need to overcome in order to achieve mainstream sales success. The sentiments in the piece generally mirror comments made by AVS members in recent news forum posts. In fact, one recent post
by JWhip, chronicling his visit to Harrods in London, made it into CNET's article. That account gets a mention in item number three, "they can burn in."
JWhip's OLED burn-in example
"The most extreme is the LG OLED display at U.K. department store Harrods, where according to a post by an AVS Forums member, burn-in appears to have occurred after two months on display." - CNET
Taken together, the issues outlined by CNET's article make it clear: OLED HDTV is a technology primarily aimed at well-heeled early adopters. Even among that crowd, issue number four—"there's only one size, 55 inches" makes it a less than ideal option for home theater installations. That, combined the fact the curved panels cannot be wall-mounted—truly limits the appeal of these first-generation sets, even among those who can afford them. 2013's crop of OLED panels are more of a millionaire's ultimate bedroom TV, rather than a home theater enthusiasts dream TV.
It's probably all right that the first customers for these new OLED panels are going to be primarily found in the top 1% of earners, because somebody has to pay for the early development costs of this difficult to produce (see item number five: "OLED is an immature technology"), but ultimately promising television technology.
Will OLED overcome the obstacles that threaten to overwhelm it? Can OLED make the transition to UHD resolution in time to take advantage of the new 4K movie and videogame ecosystem that is rolling out in 2013? Can OLED costs come down fast enough to compete against ever-improving LCD displays? Does the image quality
produced by these new panels live up to the hype?
"The bottom line is that OLED is essentially a brand-new technology in big-screen TVs, and plenty of questions remain. It has the potential to be the next plasma or LED LCD, but in the meantime we'd tell all but the most avid early adopters to hold off until a few more are answered." - CNET
There are many questions when dealing with a new technology with no proven track record, and CNET's article
highlights some of the issues worth considering."Like" AVSforum on Facebook